Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Trump takes stock of the world

From The Australian Editorial, November 14, 2016:

... Donald Trump ....is so far showing a level of finesse that seemed unlikely during the election campaign. His early prioritising of Israel and the Middle East — woefully neglected by Barack Obama for so long — is a case in point. 

The protracted civil war in Syria, with its dire consequences for the growth of jihad terrorism and the opportunity it has handed Russia to gain regional strategic ascendancy, owes much to Mr Obama’s lackadaisical attitude and his unwillingness to assert US power.

His first nine calls to world leaders after his victory made his priorities clear. ...those called included key Middle East figures who have long been at loggerheads with Mr Obama — Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi King Salman.

On the negative side, the last rites of the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership have been announced. Asian leaders saw the pact as a vital sign of Washington’s commitment to the region. Its collapse, unfortunately, opens up new opportunities for China to expand its influence....

At least Mr Trump has moved quickly to reassure regional nations, including South Korea, of continued backing. The first foreign leader he will meet will be Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. It is also good that two Trump advisers have set out the president-elect’s “Peace Through Strength Vision for the Asia-Pacific”, borrowed from Ronald Reagan’s Cold War mantra.

The world will be watching his moves in Europe closely, after he cast protocol aside to welcome Britain’s UKIP Brexit leader Nigel Farage to Trump Towers....


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